Godsmack is huge in the United States, like 'em or not. They had three consecutive No. 1 albums between 2003 and 2010 with Faceless, IV, and The Oracle, have scored over two dozen Top Ten hits over their career, and have sold millions of records. Yet Godsmack had to cancel their South American tour recently due to lack of ticket sales.
So what's the deal? As Godsmack drummer Shannon Larkin explained in an interview with Metal-Roos, the band is largely an American band. Larkin said he isn't sure that Godsmack could afford to go and tour Australia, and also reveals that the band has never had a financially successful tour in Europe.
A quick look at the stats on Setlist.FM reveals that despite their massive success in the US, Godsmack hasn't really played a lot of shows outside North America. Godsmack has clocked nearly 1,200 shows in the United States, 78 in Canada, and then it drops down to 31 in Germany, 24 in the UK, and then single digits all the way down.
"The honest truth is, can we afford to come [to Australia]?" said Larkin. "It sucks for us because we're here. We're big in America. We're an American band. The radio loves us here. If it weren't for them, we wouldn't be a big band. And we didn't really have the success worldwide that we have here.
"We don't run a bunch of tapes; we don't do that shit," he continued. "We're a live band. But what we do like to do is people pay these exorbitant ticket prices and when they come to see us, we have a big show. And we blow shit up with pyro and we have video screens. And there might be lasers that night. We have moving drum risers — all this shit that's part of us and it's been us.
"Then we go to England and play, or Australia and play, and we've got a rag behind us and a drum set. And it's not a crutch — we still went and we do it — but we never had the growth to where we were big enough, say in Australia, to come there and present what we do, like us live, this badass show that we've always done and that's as much a part of us as our instruments. We perform and we love to do it. And so we're proud of it and we have a lot of pride there. And so sometimes it feels like they're not getting what we are because we can't afford to bring all that shit.
"It's just crazy, man, this business. We've got 20-some people on the road crew. It's rooms and flights — it's crazy how much it costs to tour the world, especially now after all this bullshit pandemic bullshit. Touring Europe, man, was just… You're literally losing money. And we did it. We'd do it anyway.
"We've never — I'll say this right here — we've never made money in Europe ever. Period. And we've been there 15 times or whatever. We keep going back because we have a cult following where we can draw a couple of thousand people in these rooms, and we love to play for 'em, but there's never been a moment where we can say, 'Here's what we are.'"
I guess it just feels crazy that Godsmack hasn't had a huge career outside the US given their popularity here. Though I'm sure there are plenty of artists that command similar numbers in sales overseas that can't make a buck in the US. Fortunately for Godsmack fans around here (or unfortunately depending on your tastes), the band is focusing the remainder of their career on touring only.